BREAKING into the gig scene is a difficult part of any musician’s career.

But when you’ve got as much going on as Elle Sunderland, it’s even tougher.

The 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Riding Mill is juggling her music career with university, work, and teaching singing.

But she’s determined to make a living from music – something she’s been passionate about since a young age.

Elle said: “I’ve sung all my life. When I was little, I was into musical theatre, so I studied music at GCSE and A-Level at QE.

“After A-levels I went to Newcastle College, I loved it but it was very full on. After about a month, I dropped out and took a gap year, and I got my guitar and all my musical equipment.”

Elle, who sings at a grade 8 level, taught herself guitar and piano, but she decided to take up teaching during her gap year.

The positive reviews left on her Facebook page proved that they have reaped the benefit of her interest in singing.

Elle continued: “I’ve got three students at the moment, which is all I can take on at the minute with everything else going on.

“I’m really interesting in vocal techniques and vocal health, so I did loads of research into it which has helped my teaching.

“I was getting singing lessons at the time, and I learnt a lot from my teacher too.

“I’m currently in my second year of studying at Gateshead Academy of Music and Sound, and in third year you learn how to be a good teacher. Once I’m fully qualified, you can charge quite a bit an hour and make good money from it.”

Elle’s aim is to make a living not only from teaching music, but from performing as well.

She took to the big stage last year, when she performed at Corbridge Festival.

“Oh my God I loved it,” Elle said. “I would love to do that again.

“It was a lot of people, but for me that spurred me on more, I wanted to impress.

“I’m playing a gig at the Rat Inn on Sunday. They don’t often have live music but I used to work there and I played a gig in July. We’re trying something a bit different this time, we’re going to have a Christmas theme.”

Elle will be playing of covers and original tracks at the Rat from 6.30pm on Sunday, with mulled wine also on offer.